Over a career spanning more than 30 years, attorney Kim Morton of Morton Family Law, LLC has seen that divorce proceedings never truly end. Marital settlement agreements attempt to anticipate future circumstances but often become burdensome or unworkable as circumstances change. Unfortunately, you cannot unilaterally change your agreement without facing serious legal repercussions. You must reach an agreement with your former spouse or file a motion with the court for a modification.
A modification, sometimes called a post-judgment modification, occurs after your divorce is final. You may have already dutifully adhered to the terms of your child support agreement, child custody agreement, or spousal support agreement for several years or just a few months, but you cannot file for a modification until the agreement has gone into effect. And for a modification to be approved by the court, you must demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances. While West Chester child support and child custody agreements are always modifiable, some spousal support agreements are written to be nonmodifiable.
There are many reasons you might need to request a modification. If, as the paying spouse, you’re injured and permanently disabled, you might need to modify a child support or spousal support order. Or, if your spouse is the custodial parent, but his or her work situation has changed, you might want to modify your custody agreement. One reason, for example, would be if your spouse was granted custody because he or she worked from home but now works a late shift, and your child is unsupervised from 4:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. Parents may modify the visitation schedule, modify child support payments to provide for childcare, or even change custodial arrangements to meet these significantly changed circumstances.
If you have agreed to a child custody agreement and are considering a move out of state, you should consult with an experienced attorney. The consequences of relocating outside of Pennsylvania without the other parent’s consent are serious: You could face child abduction charges and jeopardize your continued custody. Parents looking to move out of state must notify all other parties of their intent to move and propose a revised schedule and a counter-affidavit. Those who receive the notice and object to the modification must file the counter-affidavit with the court within 30 days of receipt. The court analyzes and makes a decision on the modification request based on 10 factors including:
At Morton Family Law, West Chester attorney Kim Morton has assisted numerous Pennsylvania residents with modifying their support or custody agreements to better fit their lives while preserving their children’s welfare. To speak with her, please call 888-698-1787 or contact the office online.